Do you understand the mystery?

April 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
(1 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

For many people, this is easily understood and makes perfect sense. To others, it is complete foolishness.

If you stop to think about the word foolishness, it means a ridiculous act or idea. Just what is so ridiculous about the idea of God as a loving creator? If God can create with words, why can’t His words reflect love and beauty? Why can’t they shine grace and mercy into a world that has fallen into sin and evil desires? Why is there such a mystery around the concept that God loves us enough to do something that will bring redemption to us?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

I once heard a story that puts a unique perspective to this!

A man who questioned the whole story of Jesus found himself out on his property during a bad snow storm. There was a huge flock of birds who were unable to fly away due to the weather. They were also freezing to death in the snow. He had a large barn so he went out to open the doors to let the birds go in, but no matter what he did, they would not go. He tried everything and still no luck in getting the birds to move. In desperation he thought, “If only I were a bird. I could lead them where they can find safety.” At that moment, he realized that this is what God had done. He became a man in order to show us the way to life! In an instant, he understood the mystery of God’s plan of salvation. It was not foolishness!

Do you understand the mystery?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you say that God is?

April 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

To paraphrase this passage, God is the beginning and the end. He is all things in between. He has always been. He is now, and He will always be. He is the Creator of all things. He holds all power and authority. His power and authority were in the beginning and they will be in the end. He is unchanging and no one can come close to His power and authority!

Humanity has spent thousands of years trying to define just who they think that God is. Along the way, various different groups of people have created false gods. Most of these are simply attempts at putting a limited understanding of creation onto a persona that they could understand and define. People have even gone so far as to create idols that they assign godlike attributes to.

I want you to stop and ask yourself a question.

Who do you say that God is?

Are you able to comprehend the God of the Bible or do you try to make up your own definition, your own mental image, of what you believe God to be?

We know that God is called “Father.” Is your understanding of a loving father swayed by an earthly father who was less than loving?

We know that God is called “Creator.” Do you struggle with the concept that God has the power and that everything was simply spoken into existence?

We know that God is called “Healer.” Are you so blinded to the fact that humanity allowed sin and death into the world that you can’t understand why God allows things to happen to those you love?

We know that God created us in His image. Do you struggle with the idea that He loves you so much that He took the time to create you? We know that He created us to be in fellowship, in relationship, with Him. Do you understand the concept of sin and the consequences of sin and how that relationship was broken in the Garden of Eden? Do you struggle with the idea that God did not want to spend eternity without us, so He devised a plan to redeem us so that He could call us His own? I could go on and on, but we are simply not capable of fully grasping all that God is.

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
(Job 11:7 (NIV))

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV))

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
(Isaiah 40:28 (NIV))

All of His wisdom and righteousness we cannot even begin to understand, but there is one thing that we can understand if we will simply humble ourselves.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

I feel that I need to ask this one question once again. It is my prayer that you dwell on this question and pray to come to a true understanding.

Who do you say that God is?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does the Lord go with you wherever you go?

February 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
(Joshua 1:9 (NIV))

There will be many journeys that we will travel during our lifetime. There will be many perilous circumstances that we will encounter along those journeys. Do you have someone to travel with you? Do you have someone whom you can trust to never leave you and to never forsake you?

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Proverbs 18:24 (NIV))

With all that the world and the enemy will send our way during our lifetimes, we are not capable of making it through this life on our own. We are encouraged to not forsake the fellowship of other believers, for the Body of Christ offers encouragement. It offers fellowship. It offers prayer, and it offers truth when the world offers lies. One thing that the Body of Christ has to offer is constant reminders of God’s grace and mercy and His unfailing love for us. The Body of Christ can and will remind us to be strong in our faith. In our life, we are called to be faithful to the Lord. We are called to be faithful to God’s Word. When we know God’s Word, we have a constant reminder of all things as they were written in Joshua. The more that we know of God’s Word, the more that we know of His promises are true!

If we are told that there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, then we can count on that for every day of our lives!

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
(Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV))

We are told many times that the Lord goes with us. Simply seek His heart and learn to walk with Him. Think about that for a moment. How would you like to invite the Lord to go with you wherever you go? How would you like for the Lord to guide your every step? How would you like to rest in the assurance that the Creator of the universe loves you and watches out for you?

It is so simple to have this for yourself. Simply pray something like the following.

Lord, Jesus, I am a sinner who is in need of a Savior. Without you, I am nothing. With you, all things are possible. I am tired of being nothing. I am tired of being a sinner without hope. Come into my heart and walk with me all the days of my life. Guide me in your ways. Protect me from the attacks of the enemy. I surrender all to you, Lord. Lead me and I will follow!

Does the Lord go with you wherever you go?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has the Lord established your plans?

September 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
(Proverbs 16:3 (NIV))

Why is it so difficult to turn your life over to someone else, even if that someone is the Creator of all things?

When each of us are just a single individual in the vastness of human history, why do we think that we are any different from anyone else? Why do we think that we can achieve what we want when others have not been able to do this? Why do we strive to be greater than our neighbors? Why do we strive to be greater than our friends? Why do we try to establish plans for ourselves without truly understanding who God is and who we are in His creation?

Human nature makes us look at life as if it is ours to do with as we please. We think that we can go here and there without any ramifications. We think that we are free to make decisions and then expect everything to turn out just as we planned. Have any of us truly ever asked God to tell us His reason, His purpose for creating us? Would you be surprised to find that you are racing down a path that you were never intended to travel?

God did create us to have free will. We do have the option of doing with our lives as we please, but how does that make you feel? Do you still have an emptiness inside? Do you feel as if your life has no purpose?

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

We all need to spend time in God’s presence. As we get to know God, He will give us insight into ourselves. He will give us insight into His plans for us. As we get to know God, we will find that we want to align our lives, we will want to commit whatever we do to the Lord. He will then establish His plans for our lives.

Has the Lord established your plans?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does creation think it is better than the Creator?

June 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?
(Isaiah 29:16 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times before, but reading it today made me hang my head in sorrow and shame!

What is it about human nature that makes us think that we know better than anyone and everyone else, including the very one who formed us out of dust?

Do you ever find yourself telling God how things should be done? It may be something as small as a selfish prayer that only benefits you in a way that you don’t really need. If you stop and think about it, this kind of action is telling God that you can handle things better than He can. If we look at society, we see this type of arrogant attitude as the root of all of the issues that society is facing today. God has a plan, yet, too many people have come forward and believe that they have a better plan. Biblical values and principles are ridiculed and mocked by the so-called “educated” and “enlightened” people of this world. Even though they say that they don’t believe in God, they mock anything that is Biblically based. They believe that they have a better way than what is contained within God’s Word.

It’s sad how these people act.

If you have children, then you will probably agree with me on this mental picture. Is it just me, or do these people seem to be stuck forever in the “Terrible Twos” and forever trying to assert their authority when they truly don’t have any authority? To be honest with you, this all goes back to the Garden of Eden. God told Adam and Eve to stay away from the tree in the center of the garden and they believed the lie that He didn’t really mean it. In other words, they were convinced that they knew better than God.

And to this day, we all have a tendency to believe it, too!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you seek shelter and rest?

April 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalms 91:1 (NIV))

It is so interesting how the different translations will render a particular passage.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalm 91:1 (NKJV))

These two translations mean the same thing, but they use different words that when looked at together, strengthen the understanding of the meaning of the passage. The NIV translation uses the word “shelter” while the NKJV uses the words “secret place” when referring to the place where we draw close to God. Shelter implies a place of refuge and safety while a secret place implies intimacy with the one that you meet. I love the marriage of these two concepts and how they actually apply to the place where we meet God on a one on one basis. That place is a shelter and a refuge from the weight of the world and at the same time it is a place of intimacy with the Creator of all things.

We draw closer to God while He draws closer to us.

I also love how the NIV uses the word “rest” while the NKJV uses the word “abide” to describe what we do in the presence of God. Both words imply a trust and a peace, for it is impossible to rest where there is no trust or peace. It is also impossible to abide, or to make yourself at home, where there is no trust or peace.

In essence, we can find shelter in the secret place that we share with God and in this place we can find rest and a home!

Do you want to dwell in the secret place, in the shelter that is our God?

God wants us to dwell with Him. He wants us to be so comfortable in His presence just like we are comfortable in our own homes and with our friends and family. He wants us to go to Him when we need to retreat to our secret place.

Where is your secret place?

Is it in the shelter of the Most High?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who or what do you have?

March 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
(Psalms 73:25 (NIV))

Do the words of the psalmist echo what is in your heart?

Take a serious look at what is being said in these words.

If heaven is the perfect place and the goal that most people have for their eternity, then proclaiming “Whom have I in heaven but you?” is basically proclaiming that heaven is nothing without that individual in it. That individual is the Lord, our God. If the Lord is not there, then it is no longer heaven. The very presence of the Lord makes it perfect. He makes it heaven. He is the Creator. He is perfection. Nothing compares to His greatness!

What is the earth from this point of view?

It is merely a part of His creation.

Is there anything that has been created that is greater than the Creator?

This passage proclaims that there is nothing in the created order that is desired above the Creator. We all have stuff in our lives. Some people have the right perspective and keep God above all others. Some have made a very bad trade and have placed a part of creation, some of their stuff, above the one who created it. They have traded God for the world.

Who or what do you have?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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